Long Day’s Journey into Night

A fad­ed wrist tat­too reminds me of this every day.

To live and then to die. We burst forth into this world ready to learn, achieve, change and leave it in res­ig­na­tion to an unknown. Birth is the begin­ning, death the end. Birth sets it all in motion and at death it comes to a grind­ing halt.

So lin­guis­ti­cal­ly, why is “to be born” a pas­sive verb and “to die” an active verb?

It’s as if we have no choice in the first mat­ter and every choice in the sec­ond. Do we some­how bring about our own death in an act of exis­ten­tial revolt against a life we were thrown into with­out a choice? That is cer­tain­ly one way to explain the dis­junc­tion between the begin­ning and end on the one hand and the verbs that denote them on the other.

One may con­clude: Life is the jour­ney from pas­sive­ness to action.

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